30 Rock: Season 5, Episode 9 “Chain Reaction of Mental Anguish” (B+)
This episode worked pretty well despite being decidedly weird on pretty much all fronts. Without question, the most bizarre, off-putting, and resultingly hilarious plotline is that involving Jenna and her Jenna impersonator boyfriend, played by Will Forte in a terrific recurring role. Jenna hasn’t really been front and center for a while (though she never truly has been), and it’s fun to see her once again try to see her reassert herself both into the series and into the public limelight. Jack helping anyone with therapy can never be quite as great as when he won his Emmy for his multi-personality assist to Tracy back in season two in “Rosemary’s Baby,” but he still does a magnificent job of helping Kenneth deal with having eaten his favorite pig in a pig-eating contest. Liz’s problems are entertaining enough as well, and it’s interesting how the show is managing to continue her relationship with Carol despite Matt Damon very infrequently popping by for a guest spot, since that option isn’t something that might have seemed viable for the actor with at least three major films out this year (“Green Zone,” “Hereafter,” and “True Grit”). This whole thing with Tracy’s son who is older than him is absolutely ridiculous, yet somehow, it works. The writers deserve enormous credit for their extraordinarily clever attempts to fabricate Donald’s accidental thefts of major brand names with hilariously different meanings, including Staples, Microsoft, and American Airlines. The joke works well enough on its own, and Jack’s frustration only makes it funnier.